How Long Will A Generator Run? [It Depends On THIS]

We look forward to the summer season with lots of activities in mind. It is also the time when power outages occur more often.

Luckily, an amazing invention of generators happened to ease the discomfort.

Monitoring your generator’s level of consumption is essential. It is a helpful machine when no electricity keeps home appliances running.

Generators also play a vital role in a variety of applications, including camping or in backing up work site jobs.

The main question is, do generators run continuously to provide enough power energy for a particular situation?

Generators are designed to serve as an added source of energy and not for nonstop operations.

Most of these tools can go for eight hours to deliver power, while the others can prolong their runtime. The answer is really confusing and depends on many more factors to consider.

How Does A Generator Work?

Generators come in different models according to your level of consumption. This equipment does not create but converts mechanical energy into power energy whenever electrical sources collapse.

A home generator that provides electricity during a power outage. It is connected to a propane gas supply.

It requires an outside source such as fuel to begin working for quite some time. To name some other force sources to include high-pressure steam, natural gas, solar power, coal, wind energy, and many more.

Most units can run continuously for eight hours and others may guarantee longer runtime hours. Generators can supply enough power for homes, businesses, and other facilities when there are power outages.

First, an electrical current must be established through traditional fuel sources to convert mechanical power to an electric current.

This will be directed via copper wires to be transferred through various electrical systems, including home devices, machines, and other stuff.

Generators operate at ease with proper installation and maintenance throughout its life. It varies from the different types of generators in the market. To better understand each option, keep on scrolling.

Types of Generator And Its Useful Life

There are different types of generators available for a wide application. Some units are designed for household use and others for industrial purposes.

The following are the most common types of generators with unique features and qualities to offer, together with their advantages and disadvantages.

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Portable Generator

The first type of generator is the most compact of all generator models. Nonetheless, portable generators are versatile in use to provide power backup on any outdoor activities.

Most units can last for up to 2000 hours depending on the type of fuel used. It can run an average of 100 hours each year to last for 20 years of operation.

The best fuel type for portable generators is propane rather than gasoline. It is because propane allows constant refueling to extend the generator’s runtime.

The runtime hours of a portable generator can be reduced by a lot of elements, such as moisture and dust. Therefore, households must properly store and check the unit all the time.

This generator type is less expensive than stationary models. Additionally, portable generators do not require installation costs.  Powering up an RV would be possible with a portable generator.

Stationary Generator

This is also called a standby generator and it is fuel-powered. The overall cost includes installation and maintenance fees to enhance its life expectancy.

It can last longer than portable generators up to 3000 hours to run 100 hours each year.

The capacity at which the generator is used plays a role to determine its runtime. For medium-sized homes, a standby generator can provide a long-lasting electricity source during power outages.

Stationary generators use diesel or gas to operate automatically. It has a robust engine available for commercial use.

Its unique feature is an automatic transfer switch that detects a power loss in a few seconds to immediately deliver a continuous flow of electricity.

This type of generator is commonly used for industrial purposes due to its high power output and longer runtime.

Diesel Generator

Diesel is less flammable than all other fuel sources therefore safer for the household. The generator’s engine is primarily designed for diesel fuel however some units can work well with other liquid fuels.

Furthermore, diesel generators are more durable and reduce excessive heat on the engine. It also lessens the need for maintenance for longer uses. As a result, diesel generators cut more costs to operate.

The disadvantage is the engine won’t properly work in wet environments due to moisture. It also releases harmful substances to the environment.  

Propane Generator

Propane generators are less efficient than diesel or gas generators. However, propane can last longer than gasoline.

A 5000-gallon of propane tank will last for 30 years and it can run a generator for up to 920 hours. It is discovered that a 5000-watts generator can consume 25-pounds of propane per hour.

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Natural Gas Generator

One of the most widely used means of electricity backup is the natural gas generator. It can be installed above or below ground and is durably built.

Natural gas is readily available in the market thus running out of fuel is not an issue here. It is also cheap and clean compared to other fuel options.

This power source is suitable for the household with a lesser budget to buy a generator. The installation will add up a higher cost because of gas line connections.

Natural gas generators also operate quietly and so are perfect for confined areas. It may also use propane or petroleum gas to begin working. It won’t produce too much waste around the area, with its eco-friendly features.

Gasoline Generator

As mentioned earlier, gas generators are the most common type of generator in the world.

Gas is easily accessible almost anywhere by which the unit uses to begin operating. Not unless gasoline suppliers will be affected by power outages, which happens rarely.

When it comes to the price, gas generators are at a reasonable rate. It is available in small sizes making the unit portable in meeting the household’s needs. Plus, the generator is movable according to your requirements.

Gasoline generators are capable of various purposes. The downside would be the loud noise it produces while working. Regular maintenance can help to reduce the disturbing noise.

Lastly, gas generators are best for households that need less power output. It also goes well in colder temperatures, unlike diesel generators.

Solar Generator

The energy coming from the sun can be a good source of electricity. Solar generators are invented to make use of solar panels to produce electricity.

It works differently compared to other generator types with three components. That includes batteries, inverter, and charge controller working together to fully activate the solar energy.  

It takes almost eight hours to be fully recharged. The unit must be put directly under the sunlight to absorb enough solar energy.

It can be so expensive and perfect for minimal energy requirements. Solar generators also operate quietly.

Inverter Generator

The final type of generator is unlike those bulky and loud power sources. Its engine should be connected with an alternator to convert DC power into AC power.

This is with the help of a rectifier for the best possible result.

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Inverter generators offer a lot of advantages to their users. It is fuel-efficient and highly safe for sensitive home devices.

Also, it does not produce disturbing noise during operation. This generator is recommended for outdoor uses to provide maximum performance with low emissions.

The only problem is it is not powerful enough to supply energy for heavy-duty home appliances. And also, inverter generators are pricey when compared to more compact units.

How Do You Choose a Generator that Will Last?

Picking a generator greatly depends on your specific needs. So, here are the factors to consider in buying a generator with a longer lifespan:

Reputable Brand

Purchasing a generator from a reputable dealer is necessary. It guarantees better quality than buying elsewhere.

Take your time in looking for a unit that really suits your needs. Consider a seller with years of experience to assist you in your purchasing decision.

When buying a used generator, check all its internal parts to see whether there are damages that need to be repaired.

The dealer will be accountable for the generator’s condition. It is less expensive however has a shorter lifespan compared to a brand new unit.


Before getting a generator for your home, assess how much energy the household requires.

The size of the unit affects the capacity of power it can provide. For instance, if you are running many home appliances at the same time, generators with lower capacity may not be suited.

Quality Engines

A generator with quality engines is worth the money. They consist of pressurized lubrication that circulates oil in the engine more efficiently.

It keeps the engine having a much longer life and not worn down when it is cold.


The generator’s lifespan is one of the major factors households should consider. Extended useful life is an advantage for longer use.

Manufacturers often mention the lifespan estimation of a generator to assist users. It additionally differs from one type to another.

Type of Fuel

Generators may demand different fueling options to get started. Without the use of fuel, the unit won’t be able to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy.

It also initiates the internal combustion process of the unit to provide an ample amount of energy.

Among the best fuel choices, gas could be the easiest to acquire. It is present almost everywhere at a reasonable price. Gas is also the most efficient fuel choice in operating a generator for a longer time.

Other types of fuel that fit for generator use are diesel and propane. These are suitable for portable generators as residential units more often use natural gas.

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Some generator units are capable of operating with either diesel or propane.

3 Safety Tips for Your Generator

We highly recommended keeping this card in your home’s emergency kit or with your generator.

Things Needed To Extend Your Generator’s Life

To give you a few tips to extend a generator’s lifespan, consider the following:

Proper Installation

A proper location is important in setting up any type of generator. The installer will give ideas on where to install the unit to keep it safe all year round.

Avoid areas prone to flooding, dust, and wind not to damage the engine of the generator unit.

Excess fuel must also be removed from the engine after use. Make sure to store the unit in a cool and dry place to prevent rusting.

Use the generator sizing calculator to purchase a unit of the right size for your household’s energy needs. Many buyers prefer larger generator models to get ready for wider use.

Maintenance and Repair

Do a weekly maintenance schedule to check on its engine. Run the generator for up to 20 minutes to keep the engine operating smoothly.

The oil and coolant level of the generator must be monitored once a month to ensure it is in a good condition. Users should also clean the location of the unit.

A detailed inspection is necessary for half of the year. Hire a technician to check all parts of the generator and do repairs, if needed.

Signs to Replace a Generator

There are a lot of visible signs when to replace a generator unit. The most common is higher fuel costs due to damage to its mechanical parts.

With that, it will produce less consistent power and may take longer to startup than before. The lights of the unit will also flicker on and off as a visible sign of damage.

Most homeowners prefer to wait for the generator to be worn out before buying a new unit. However, due to technological advancement, new generator models are to be looked for due to the changing needs of users.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

How long does a generator run on 5 gallons of gas?

By doing the math, you can run a generator for up to 10-hours with 5-gallons of gas. 

How long does gas run a 5000-watt generator?

A 5000-watts of generator that runs with up to 18-gallons of gas can last for a day. A gallon of gas can guarantee two hours of generator consumption.

How long does a diesel generator run on how many gallons?

Since diesel generators are huge, they also have a bigger tank to hold gallons of diesel.

For example, a 20-kilowatt generator with a fourth of the load can consume 0.6-gallons of diesel to run for one hour.

Larger diesel generators at 2000-kilowatt can use up to 160-gallons to operate in one hour. 

Overall, the run time hours will depend on the load applied by the generator unit. A higher load simply means a longer run time.  

How long does a generator need to run to fully charge two 12 volt deep cycle batteries?

An inverter generator has built-in 12-volts outlets. Charging your batteries from the generator may not leave them fully charge for two reasons.

First, its DC outlet can only hold a current of not more than 8-amps. Second, the generator’s voltage highly depends on rpm.

It might work well with a low load but not with higher loads. It is best recommended for short-term charging not to risk your batteries.

How long does propane run a generator for compared to gas?

Compared to gas generators, propane generators have a longer shelf life with a single tank. It will not get rogue for up to 30 years.

The tank shall be filled only once a year, unlike gas generators that require frequent change of gas.

Final Thoughts

Wrapping it all up, each type of generator has a different runtime capacity. The stationary unit can deliver power supply for up to 3000 hours, the highest among the other generator types.

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That is why households must choose to buy a generator unit that can supply their desired power energy. Proper installation and maintenance play a vital role to guarantee a longer lifespan upon the unit.

If there are signs of damage, immediately call a technician to inspect the generator’s present condition.

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